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Businessmen urge govt to increase import taxes

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MULTAN: The business community of southern Punjab has urged the government to discourage imports by imposing heavy taxes and regulatory duties like those in India in order to control the soaring trade deficit, which swelled to the historic level at $32.58 billion in the previous fiscal year. In a statement, Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) President Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi expressed concern over the runaway trade deficit and weakening exports.He said Pakistan’s imports soared 18.67% to a historic high at $53.02 billion in FY17 against imports worth $44.69 billion in the previous year. However, exports registered a decline of 1.63% and were recorded at $20.45 billion compared to $20.79 billion.
in the preceding year.
Roomi, however, was optimistic that exports would start taking off with support from the Prime Minister’s incentive package worth Rs180 billion.The MCCI official suggested that import of commodities and products which are produced in Pakistan should be discouraged with the levy of taxes, tariffs and regulatory duties.He underscored the need for reviewing the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with different countries including China and Turkey to ensure balance of trade in all cases.Roomi said industries were finding it tough to compete in the international market due to enhanced prices of oil, gas and electricity, which caused an increase in their cost of production, brought down exports and pushed up trade deficit.

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